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La Bayadere Spring 2012


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#106 Birdsall

Birdsall

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 06:53 AM

I didn't mean for this to become a discussion about race.

For me I was just wondering if dancing for "your people" causes a dancer to go above and beyond. I think American Olympic athletes have the feeling that they are representing the United States, but I would be surprised if American ballet dancers feel they are representing the U.S. when they dance. Maybe they do. I tend to think they are dancing for themselves and/or dancing for their particular companies, but not necessarily to represent the U.S.

In contrast, I think there is a strong feeling among Cuban dancers that they are Cuban dancers and have a Cuban heritage and tradition. I am not trying to be racist. Cristian has been teaching me all this.

I feel that Russians are sort of the same way. The French too. They are very proud of their history and traditions.

Also, in both countries ballet seems to be known and loved by the majority of citizens. I have read that Cubans watch ballet the way many people watch soccer or football. The average American doesn't know anything about ballet, so it is a much more niche art form for the U.S. There is no national pride in any particular ballet company from what I can tell. I think American ballet dancers might aspire to dance with ABT or NYCBallet, but they are just as likely to long to dance at the Mariinsky, the Bolshoi, Paris Opera Ballet or Royal Ballet.

Anyway, this whole thought of mine was an attempt to answer Cristian's question. I think it is possible that dancing for something larger than yourself (for your country, for your culture, etc.) might help you go above and beyond what you would do for yourself.

But with all this talk that sounds nationalistic and patriotic, I want everyone to know that I am not conservative. LOL

#107 Birdsall

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 07:01 AM

<div>Birdsall, I think you are absolutely right about American dancers not feeling they represent their contry/culture, however,&nbsp;&nbsp;in my experience that does not translate into less motivation to excel.&nbsp; If anything, the lack of state supported schools, and companies in the US makes it much harder to pursue a dance career, so those who&nbsp;make it&nbsp;are usually passionately motivated.&nbsp; American dancers have the reputation of being very high energy and hard working.&nbsp;</div>
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<div>As for the preceived caution vs go for broke performing that has a lot to do with the kind of coaching the dancer&#39;s receive, as well as the artistic directors taste in dancers.&nbsp;</div>
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<div>&nbsp;In comparing Russian Companies with ABT, Abatt&#39;s friend is right.&nbsp; The co. is a melting pot,&nbsp;and it is&nbsp;American in name only.&nbsp; How many of the principals in this Spring season are American?</div>
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Ling,

You are probably right. I do see American dancers who are terrific at Miami City Ballet, and I have seen New York City Ballet known for strength and speed. Even Sofiane Sylve says in the Sleeping Beauty documentary that ballet class at NYCB was more rigorous than she was used to (at the time she had just joined NYCB but has since left).
So there are no absolutes. There are American dancers who go the extra mile.
I was just throwing out an idea.
I know when I go to yoga class and do my practice in a more spiritual frame of mind I feel that my practice was easier even though I worked harder and did better, it seems to come easier when I stop thinking about doing the yoga just for myself. I find that letting go of "I want ME to do well" as opposed to "I offer up my practice to the universe and bringing love to all beings" helps me do a lot better. Ironically, when I get into an ego state of mind of wanting to compete with the pretzel lady next to me, I end up doing worse and losing balance and I get frustrated. I think working for a higher reason is always a better way to approach things. Don't mean to get all far out hippie on anyone. Most people look at me and think I am very square and conservative! LOL
Birdsall


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